A 27-year-old man has been sentenced to nine months in prison after pleading guilty to a charge of harassment, arising from the sharing of sexually explicit photos of his former girlfriend online.

Joseph O'Connor - with an address at Lios an Uisce, Merlin Park, Galway - posted the images, with links to his ex-girlfriend's social media profiles on an internet forum.

This resulted in the victim being sent several friend requests each day from people she did not know.

O'Connor, who is originally from Co Cork, was charged with breaches of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act.

Galway District Court was told the images were subsequently removed but that this had been a laborious process.

Judge Mary Fahy was told the harassment had a long-lasting impact on the victim and led to the break-up of a subsequent relationship she was involved in.

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Defending solicitor, Brian Gilmartin, told the court that O'Connor had uploaded the photographs after taking offence that an image of him had been shared on a private group chat by the victim.

He said the defendant accepted that his behaviour was reprehensible and that he was offering no excuses on behalf of his client.

Garda Paraic Moran said the offence came to his attention when the victim made a complaint in August 2018.

She had found the photographs of herself on what were described as "various pornographic websites".

While she was not identifiable on any of the images displayed, they featured links to her Snapchat and Facebook profiles.

Garda Moran told the court that O’Connor admitted uploading the images and handed his phone and laptop in for forensic analysis.

The court heard how the couple had been in a relationship for a year and that the defendant had posted the photographs after they broke up.

Judge Fahy said the actions had been carried out to cause as much consternation as possible to the victim. She said it must be one of the worst nightmares for any young girl to have to deal with the consequences of such material being shared publicly and without consent.

The court was told that while the victim was "outwardly doing ok", the impact of the harassment would always remain with her.

The judge said there was no comparison between the victim sending a picture to a group chat and the subsequent uploading of images of her.

She said such activity was "what is commonly called revenge porn" and said it constituted an "insidious" offence.

Describing a Victim Impact Statement presented to her as "harrowing", Judge Fahy said the message had to go out that "this is just not acceptable".

Given the gravity of the charges before her, she said she would have to impose a custodial sentence of nine months.

Leave to appeal the sentence was granted on the basis of the defendant providing his own surety of €600.